Snapshot, Twin babies swaddled,
tiniest of infants (two-month preemies).
Father caught unawares. Mother
arranging herself as she was fashioned–
a lady composed for all occasions.
“Smile,” the photographer said
as if the student father had not
flinched awake, as if the mother
had not been told she was married
to this person she had dated twice,
Marine not long from Viet Nam,
unfit for polite society,
his wife genteel as a baby grand
in the parlor, a Beethoven sonata.
Thank God they are too tired
to question the night’s schedule–
each hour one baby calling.
Thank God they are two parents,
each gifted with two hours of
They can take no thought for tomorrow,
what evil may come. Think kindly
of this couple no one believes
can weather a week, a month,
a year, forty-four years, fifty,
her long red hair, green eyes;
his long silences, words penciled
in the notebook at the kitchen table
where, midnight, she will stand beside
her husband bearing down
on the pencil as if each word,
each letter of each word,
were pressed into the rock face
of a cave, Egyptian desert,
and she will place her left hand
on his shoulder and with her right,
ease the pencil from his fingers,
close the book. Enough for now.